Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25: For my New Brunswick readers.

Today's New Brunswick newspapers, like several editions of them recently, has been in a frenzy over the recent and rapid rise in property taxes.  And Brian Murphy has a commentary on property and income taxes. Alas, as always his column managages to offend no-one by saying nothing.
Now, Liberal premier Gallant is in trouble for the sense of discontent that is running through the province - as was the Conservative premier before him - as was the Liberal premier before him.
Wake up, New Brunswick.
Of course you have to increase property taxes -and other taxes, too. For a start, large tracts of industrial land pay very low taxes so the rich people who own them will like us. Use a little bit of common sense. If you let big business off with low property taxes, somebody has to pay the difference. And the only somebody available is you.
Just made up your income tax report? Pleased to have found a couple of  loopholes for tax deductions? Dream on. The most generous tax laws, by far, are those that benefit the rich. There are, for example, deductions for employee stock  options. Those cost us $760 million a year. And every cent goes to the richest 1%. Somebody has to pay to make up for that. Guess who?
Many countries, including Canada, thoughfully provide tax havens so muli-milionaires and billionaires won't have to pay any tax at all. That costs us billions of dollars that have to be made up by people like you. It can't all come from us, of course, because we don't have that money. So it has to come from places that don't matter - education, for example, health, food for the poor.  
An interesting magazine called Monitor   (January/February 2017 issue) has some interesting items on all this. Tax loopholes cost our federal government over one hundred BILLION dollars a year. And almost all of that lost tax money stays in the pockets of the richest one percent.
That loss of tax revenue helps to explain why child poverty has risen in the last decade.  Child poverty, always high in New Brunswick, has risen to over 21%. And poverty is a childhood scar that lasts forever for most children. They are likely to feel worthlessnes. They are very likely to do poorly in school - despite intellitence, because they have a low opinion of themselves, and they probably remain poor.
Think how much nicer it must be if Daddy is rich, rich, rich, can send you to a private school. can raise you in a setting that gives you confidence, and maybe even hand you your first job as CEO of one of his companies. Yes.
Of course, it would cost money accomplish that when mummy and daddy earn less in a year than the big boss does in this first hour or of work. And mummy and daddy, unlike the big boss, have to pay taxes.
The magazine has an article on that called investment needed now to end child poverty. Of course, to achieve that, the rich would have to pay their share of taxes.
The same magazine points out that the richest 20% of all families take home half of all income for the whole country.
New Brunswick has to raise taxes, and to raise them mostly from the bottom 70% or so of the population. That's because so many of the wealthy pay no taxes at all. That's why we have provincial deficits. That's why we can't afford free university education. Tiny Cuba can. But big, rich, Canada can't. That's why we have to raise charities to feed the hungry. (And don't kid yourself that a charity meal is just as healthy a a regular one.).
The reality is that our whole tax system is a scam which  takes money from the poor to give it to the rich. (Tell me all those heart-warming stories about the philanthropy of the rich.)
New Brunswickers have tolerated this abuse for all 150 years of confederation.
We have to pay high taxes - because the rich don't. And sometimes, we cannot get what we need to live decently because the tax money we need to do it just isn't there.
And New Brunswickers accept this treatment for election after election. We're getting mad at the Liberals? Okay. We'll show them. We'll vote for the Conservatives (the ones we voted out to vote in the Conservatives. Democracy in New Brunswick is just a great shell game made possible by a passive people.
Like moss on a wall, New Brunswickers just hang on limply. They are, in my experience, frightened of having an opinion. They're even frightened of hearing one from someone else. They are frightened of being thought different from other New Brunswickers. That's why a newspaper chain that has no news and no opinons worth reading can dominate the province.And, oh, they pay one hell of price for their fear.
Above them hover the vultures who feed on them. But they're too scared even to look up or to admit they are there.
That's the price of intellectual and social cowardice.
Oh, this attititude carries through to New Brunswick churches.  In a world in which churches stand by while millions die to satisfy the pure greed of the very, very wealthy, I note that the Faith Page routinely produces the wimpiest sermonettes I have ever seen.
Christianity, like most religions, requires courage. But New Brunswickers practice faith in the same way they practice politics.

Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24: The choice that Justin Trudeau will never make.

Below is an examination of a powerful factor in the manipulation of public opinion in the U.S.There is a very wide belief in the U.S. that Americans are God's chosen people. This goes back almost to the American Revolution; and it has been used to justify every war the U.S. ever fought.

Politicians and business leaders enouraged that, from the slaughter of native peoples to the conquest and dictatorship of The Phillipines to the invasion of Iraq. It's a theme reflected in a popular song of World War Two - 'Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.' Every American president I can think of has used that belief to justify war. Bush routinely used it to justify his wars. And it was the real message of Trump's cap slogan, 'Make American Great Again!.
I noticed the message subtly repeated in an American hymn book. Included with the hymns - and AS hymns - were American patriotic songs like God Bless America, The Star-Spangled banner There was no distinction between religious faith and patriotism.

Of course, the U.S. is not the first nation to do this.  Britain was much the same in the days of its empire. You can find echoes of it in "Rule Britannia". And the churches justified the killing and exploitation of millions on the grounds that Britain (and now the U.S.) was bringing civilization and faith to the heathen.  It was used to justify the Belgian conquest and exploitation of Congo - and the murder and exploitation of its people, and the looting of its resources.  A century and a  half later, civilization for that miserable land is nowhere in sight.

Hitler and his supporters slaughtered Jews, seeing it as God's will. I  don't whether Hitler was, as  he claimed to be, a devout Catholic. The point is that he used religious faith as an excuse for mass murder - and most German Christians supported that.

Capitalism has very effectively used religion to justify mass murder and looting and abuse all over the world. And the Christian churches have, for the most part, been happy to drift along with that. Nor has there been a word of criticism of capitalists for what they have done and encouraged. On the contrary, they are mentioned only for their good works as philanthropists.

And that blend of patriotism and religion is what has made possible the murders of some 20 million people since the end of world war two, (And I notice there has never been a word about that in the Faith Page of my local newspaper.)
That mix of religious phantasy and patriotism is the greatest danger facing the world today. It's what makes it possible for the very wealthy to manipulate Americans. And, among others, it's dangerous to a Canada that has allowed itself to become an American colony. There would, of course, be a heavy penalty for Canada in severing that relationship. But there will be a heavier one if we don't.
Refugees who flee the U.S. into Canada - often at dreadful hardship - are given a very hard time by Canada. Very, very few are allowed to stay. And that refusal has nothing to do with any danger they pose. It has to do with Canada being a colony that has to please Trump.

And for those of us who think we should keep  out refugees, I would say (expletive deleted.) We helped to make them refugees. We helped to destroy lives. If we don't want to help refugees, we shouldn't help to create them.  (unless you think that we, like Americans, are the chosen people of God.)

Maybe we could impose a special tax on those Canadians who have benefitted from exploiting the poor all over the world. Nah. They won't pay any taxes now. And no Canadian government has cared enough to mention it.
Here's a short but very sensible look at our priorities. Did you know that there's a big rush among the very rich to buy underground, luxury shelters to escape climate change - you know- the change they say isn't happening?

But don't worry. New Brunswick will be preparing for that - just as soon as it can find time to think about maybe cleaning its polluted beaches.
And here's an inspiring story. While poverty is rising all over the world, and while at least tens of millions are starving to death. billionaires are getting richer. Isn't that nice?
This next is a long read. But it's  an important one. Profits for the weatlhy have become far more important than education or human health or even human survival. This column emphsizes the role of Trump in this in the U.S. But watch for a similar pattern as Canada tags along.
Tell me more about how capitalism makes us all rich.
Meanwhile, "God's chosen nation" is starving millions of  helpless people to death. In fairness, I should also add it's also killing them by bombs so they won't starve.
War rarely has anything to do with fighting terrorism or defending ourselves against 'evil' people. Most wars are for  money - for resourcces, for cheap labour.... We have reached - and passed - a crisis in this.
A story that's about a week old, now, hasn't received much attention or comment. That's too bad. The Girl Guides of Canada have announcement that all trips to the U.S. are cancelled because of the risk that some girls might be  stopped on the basis of birth or religion.

That should have received more attention. It's a protest against American bigotry that the Canadian government has been too wimpy to make.
And we continue to learn more about  the spread of the police state in the U.S. Canadians should pay attention to this Canadian governments have a long history of complying with American practice in spying on citizens.
What will Trudeau do about climate change? Nothing. You can bet on it.

Prime Minister Trudea and  his Liberals have always talked a good game about about healing Canada's treatment of native peoples. But, just like the Conservatives, it's been mostly talk.
While Trump gives every sign of looking for a war with China, the U.S. has made no progress whatever in its long, long war with Afghanistan. I guess that's why news media seldom even mention it.
Islamic terrorism was largely created by the U.S., and has survived largely because of American support. This goes way back to the days when Russia was invading Afghanistan, and the CIA was the U.S. organization that organized the Afghan opposition to Russia.

Ever since then, the US has been the major sponsor of the people it calls terrorists.   (Actually, and for all the hysteria, terrorists operating in the U.S. typically kill fewer people in a year than American police do in a day.)
There seems a strong possibility that American and British bombs may have created a rash of deformed babies in Yemen. (Yes. I know this is according to Russia Times. I have found it to be a good deal more accurate than most western, commercial news. And, yes, I wouldn't be surprised if Russian bombs had the same effect.)

The point is that are getting little information about this sort of thing. This is certainly not a first for the U.S. We know of people being burned alive with napalm bombing, born horribly disfigured with agent orange bombing, poisoned with depleted uranium shells....

Once in a while , it even gets reported. But not often.

By the way, why are Saudis and Americans killing people in Yemen? Why is Canada supplying some of the weapons to Saudi for this war?

How come our news media  haven't asked those questions? How come we haven't?
I always save Haaretz for the end because it's the only commercial news medium that is honest and intelligent.
In contrast to that Haaretz column, we live in a world dominated by news media that generate lies and fears and hatreds.And all of it is controlled by people of enormous greed, and of indifference to human suffering. All that has meaning to them is money. And they have come to dominate our world.

And their greed, as greed does, destroys them intellectually so  they cannot see the damage they are setting up even for themselves.

The U.S. has gone far past the tipping point. I think it unlikely it will ever develop more intelligent and caring leaders. However difficult it might be, Canada has to separate itself from that greed and stupidity.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 22: An Ugly Day

Today, Brunswick News actually had a piece of world news. Canadian troops are in Iraq. Remember how all our history books talk about how wonderful it was that, between the two world wars, Canada got the right to declare war on its own? I must have missed the Canadian declaration of war on Iraq.
Twenty years from now, probably less, Europe is going to have one hell of a crisis with young refugees. The neglect of refugee children has been brutal. There's going to be a price for it. Meanwhile, the U.S. which created all those refugees, refused to play an part in helping them. In the minds of the business moguls who run the U.S., there is no future. There is only now.

And we have caused so much chaos, especially in the middle east, that the problem  will go on for generations. How often have you heard a politician (or a businessman) even mention that?

Greed and stupidity go hand in hand.
Here is one of the many stories on how 20 million children are going to starve to death in the near future. And we aren't even thinking about it. The reality is we don't care. Read the Brunswick News on this. All we have to do is to make our billionaires richer, and then the money will flow down to make us rich.


That has never worked. It never will. But we struggle on to make it worse by letting the very wealthy escape taxes and even let them demand handovers of our taxes to them for being good enough to accept profitable contracts.

This, not Trump, is the cause of the crash that is happening in the U.S. Yes, Trump is a disturbed man. What do you think Bush was when he killed over a million Iraqis?What do you think Obama was when he created the disaster that is Syria, and when he stepped up drone attacks all over the world? What do you think Bush Sr. was when he slaughtered 300,000 Guatemalans? What do you think Clinton was when she giggled at the thought of Ghadaffi being killed with a knife up his rectum?

There is a madness loose in the world. It is largely an American madness with wimps like Canada tagging along. And, oh, there is going to be a price for it.
I include the next item only because so many people are obsessed with Trump, and see him as the cause of our problems. The reality is that our problems were created by most post-war presidents, and by the invisible power and greed of some extremely wealthy people.

For example, it was that nice Mr. Kennedy who began the war that murdered many millions of Vietnamese. Ever see a reasonable explanation why he did that? I haven't.
Canadian and U.S. comanies dominate mining and other industries in South America. It is, I think, more than a coincidence that people in South America who protest environmental destruction and exploitation have a strong chance of getting murdered.

Thanks to some of our business leaders,  we are not nearly so loved as we might think.
Here is a stunning report on the US 'defence' budget. It's corrupt. It's outragerously expensive. And it has a profound effect on Canada. General Eisenhower saw this coming  some seventy years ago. And it's even worse than he said it would be.

And the U.S. tells us that It's Russia and China (and Iraq and AFghanistan and Yemen and Syria) that are threatening it. (In fact, evil Russia has drastically reduced its military budget.)
Hitler's greatest triumph was that he destroyed the principles of one of the world's great faiths, Judaism. And Christians helped Hitler to do that by refusing to help the Jews of Europe.
Meanwhile, Christians have been busy destroying their own principles.
And this is the first time I have seen a real account of what Trump is about - the final step to a fascist state,    building on the foundations laid by Bush and Obama.
Here are two, conflicting stories. Whatever the truth, we are reaping a very dangerous harvest in the middle east.

The American reliance on military force has been largely a disaster since world war two, leaving nothing but instabliity, hatred, starvation.... Now the instability is getting much worse. Turkey is looking at making itself the dominant force in the middle east. So is Saudi Arabia. Now Russia has stepped in to be a major player in the region.America's political/military efforts have been disastrous with worse to come.
I have mixed feelings about the next item. The U.S. has long wanted control of China. So it still plays with hopes for a presence in the former British colony of Hong Kong. Essentially, Hong Kong was a dictatorship under the British - who were also insufferably arrogant.

But the people of Hong Kong, much as they detested the British, were not eager to rejoin a communist China. They were prepared to accept it - but not eager. Since then, China has changed a great deal; and Hong  Kongers seem more willing to accept its rule.

But the U.S. is still hungry for control of that huge market.
Western news hasn't said much about what Israel is doing in Syria and, possibly, Lebanon. This is very, very dangerous.
Canada's Liberal government has a budget coming up. Here's the news about it you aren't likely to see in your local paper. (It also applies to government budgets all over the western world.)
David Suzuki says there's a climate crisis. But what does he know? If there were, the Brunswick News would have big stories about it.
Here's the story The Guardian did not have when it reported on the death of 'philanthropist' David Rockefeller. It has to do with his friendship with the murderous Shah of Iran.
Read this. And don't kid yourself that Canada doesn't have immigrant prisons with whole families, including children, in them for long periods.
Boy, good thing Trump stepped up military spending.
Here's an interesting opinion on the influence of Jesus on right-wing thinking in Israel. (It's pretty critical of the right-wing). Can you imagine a western new agency being critical of the bland mush that appears as sermonettes in our papers?
U.S. secretary of state Tillerson has attacked Islam for being a 'warped' religion. That's so true. And I know that Jesus smiles as he looks down to see us Christians doing our Christian duty by murdering, starving and refugeeing them by the tens of millions.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20: Okay. I'm long winded today.

News media don't  often have a kind word for Trump. Here's an exception.

I have to admit that I don't usually have a kind word for him either. But let's look at the bigger picture.

American  (and western in general) foreign policy has been a disaster for almost eighty years. American wars have left a trail of disaster and murder all over the world. And, almost without exception, they have been losers. The mighty US, in 16 years, cannot defeat a small, poor, and divided Afghanistan. In Vietnam, it napalmed, destroyed the agriculture of Vietnam, and killed millions of Vietnamese. And it still lost.

It accomplished nothing in Iraq. (Nor did our news media ever mention the courage of that small nation which stood up to the mighty U.S.) Syria is a chaos with no indication the U.S. can win. American bombs (and sometimes American bombers) are murdering a nation already starving in Yemen, and they don't seem to be able to win it. The U.S. has been losing ground in the middle east despite massive spending to keep Muslim Jihadists armed and trained to murder Syrians. In Saudi Arabia, Britain and the U.S. created and still maintain the the world's most brutal dictatorship. Americans, in general, are in no rush to die 'for their country'. In fact, the American army is largely made up of foreign mercenaries. hired thugs.

The net result is a U.S. that is hated in most of the world, including Mexico and South America. And included in that result is a stunning lack of any success. On the contrary, the U.S. is in real danger of losing influence in the middle east and in Asia. And even some European countries are shuffling nervously toward the exit. And it is likely that only the kiss-ups, like the British, will remain faithful.
The major result, which our news media seem unaware of, is massive failure in foreign policy, perhaps the greatest such failure in history.

In comparison to every American president since Roosevelt, Trump could be called a foreign affairs genius. (But let me put the important part of that in capital letters. Trump is a foreign affairs genius IN COMPARISON  only.)

Generally, the U.S. has dissolved much of the world into chaos. Part of that chaos are the states of Israel and Palestine.

As the article in Harretz (above) mentions, Jews and Muslims lived together in peace for centuries in the Holy Land. Then, in World War 1, a British Lord intervened.

Lord Balfour had two objectives in mind. One was to  solidify the British foothold in the middle east. The other was to get rid of British and European Jews. (Hitler was by no means the western world's first racist.)

However, Jews of  Europe at the time had to wish to move. They had sense enough to realize that Judaism is a religion, not a race. They had, like all of us, very mixed blood. (MY DNA has a trace of west Asian barbarian.) So it was really Hitler, not Balfour, who created a Jewish state as European Jews of the early, postwar years, denied entry to countries like the U.S. and Canada, stormed Palestine, and took it.

The western powers rubber-stamped that. The U.S. then armed Israel so that it  has become the world's eighth ranked military power. That had nothing to do with helping Jews. It had to do with the U.S. displacing a British foothold in the region.

The Palestinians, who had lived in peace with Palestinian Jews now found themselves pushed out of their homes, and into the less desirable region of what had been Palestine.  Those who remained in Israel found themselves treated as    contemptible inferiors  And those who moved to the new Palestine found themselves routinely invaded to take their land and kick them off it and out of their homes.

Hitler did not destroy Judaism. But he certainly destroyed a great many Judaic principles.

Trump wants to restore peace to the region. He might well be naive. But he is at least trying to clean up the horror created by a century of western greed and abuse.

Credit where credit is due.
Also in Israel, President Netanyahu is angry at his country's public broadcaster (much like Canada's nationally-owned CBC). As such public broadcasters are inclined to do, it tries to tell the truth. And that's a no-no.

Here in Canada, the CBC faces constant threats, and for the same reason. There are important people who feel it's more important for us to be in ignorance of what's going on.

No, better to do what newspapers like Brunswick news do. What's the biggest story in the Canada and World section? It's about how Chuck Berry  influenced rock 'n' roll.

There is, however, an inspiring letter to the editor about how immigrants, people of different races and religions, are swarming in to take our jobs. Too true, baby.
When the first Decarie (from France) settled in Montreal, the aboriginal people already there should have put a stop to it. Then we let in Protestants, Jews, English, Italians Greeks, Irish, just a smorgasbord of job thieves. Two of them would have been ancestors of the letter writer.

The writer feels they should have stayed home to work in their own countries. So true. Of course, it's hard to work in countries where a million and more have been killed by us, refugeed by us, and their cities destroyed by us, and the survivors fled from the horror. And it's hard for their orphaned children to go to schools that we bombed.

They're here because we gave them no choice. So just consider accepting a tiny fraction of them as our good deed for the day.
An indicator of how American foreign policy has been disastrous for decades is the move of Russia into Syria. It's there to stay. The U.S. policy has made the whole region unstable. And this is exactly why Trump wants a peaceful settlement to the Israel/Palestine issue. (And the oil industry, I suspect, doesn't want one.)
For over a century the people of China suffered in a poverty imposed by western capitalists. Mass starvation was frequent. All of those years were steadily downhill. Much of the old China was still visible in the days when I worked there. And there were plenty of people who remembered when the only food was cabbage. Now, with the western capitalists disposed of, China has magnificent cities, with one hundred of them having over a million people each.

So let's fast forward twenty years. Can you imagine the progress China will have made by then?

Now can you understand why leaders of western corporations want war with China - now?
Here's glowing story about a wunnerful, wunnerful America family. David Rockefeller has died at 101. He was, says The Guardian, a philanthropist as all his family had been. Funny, though, how The Guardian missed most of the story.    
The Rockefellers, going back into the nineteenth century, made their money out of paying low wages for work in bad and even dangerous conditions. That caused  trouble about a century ago when the Rockefellers faced workers who demanded better pay. The 'philanthopic' Rockefellers kicked them out of their company owned mining town, leaving them camped in tents for the winter. Then, one day, company guards and militia opened fire on the families in tents.
It was very embarassing. Bad PR. So they hired MacKenzie King (later prime minister of Canada) to set up a campaign showing the Rockefellers were really 'jes' folks like everybody else. There were newspaper photos of Rockefeller sons dancing with coal miners' daughters. To this day, there are people who believe all  the Rockefeller boys marrie coal miners' daughters.

What they gave was always less than what they took. But The Guardian has a story on this that reads like a page from Brunswick News. Mr. Rockefeller was such a wonderful man. And he met famous people. And he rose brilliantly in the business world. And, of course, being born a billionaire had nothing to do with it.
When the Russian were bombing jihadists in Aleppo, we got lots of news stories about how their bombs were killing children. And we got lots of wonderful stuff about the 'white helmets' saving children. Remember the photo of the little boy who became the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary?

Luckily, American and Iraqi bombs dropping on the city of Mosul don't kill children. - unless you look at these pictures...
And here's another piece of news we haven't been given.

Aren't those North Koreans just terrible? We'll have to go to war with them again.  People who think that never think of the butcher's bill. I think it would be even higher than this article says, probably much higher.

And China, looking at the attack on its neighbour, thus permitting an American military presence on the China border, would have to intervene to prevent that.  And then the death count on either side would beggar any estimate.
And on a lighter note.
The tax story in Canada is very similar to this one. Thank you, Mr. Trudeau.

Oh, The American government is putting forward a health care package in which those who are out of work will get no health care. Damn right. Those unemployed people are just lazy. The 1930s depression was really just a mass outbreak of laziness.
Here's an angle on Mexican migration to the U.S. that I have never seen in our news media. (Be sure to read it to the end.)
This next one is very, very long. And I must add another piece to it.

It's about the need for free university tuition. What I want to add is the desperate need to make university teachers learn how to teach. I spent nine years in university - and almost all of them were spent memorizing things that I  have never needed, and have long since forgotten.

Students  don't  need memorizing. They need the capacity to think, to analyze, to make judgements. Very few university teachers know how to teach that. That's why so many of us read newspapers without being able to make any judgement about them. That's why so many of us are easily suckered by propaganda.
And then there are our good friends at Monsanto.
Sorry. Today's blog is long because I ran away with myself at the start. The problem, in this case, was that  the creation of Israel needed a lot of explaining. For a start, it was part of a political game to give the U.S. extra power in the middle east. And some twenty years earlier, Britain had been floating the idea of  Jewish homeland - essentially in a desire to cut France out of the region.

Nations very seldom tell the truth about why they do things. (The U.S. had hoped to use WW2 to destroy British imperial power, and to take over from the British. They succeeded in destroying the British. But they weren't able to take over the big prize - China.)

Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17: I hate reading the news.

A big story here in Canada's east end is that our residents want immigrants to be tested to ensure they have Canadian values.

What are Canadian values? Actually, nobody knows since nobody has ever made a list of them. So here's a start.

1. Canadians value their native peoples, and want to clear up all the problems we have created for them. (Actually, we can't be sure yet that's  a value because we've never made any attempt to do it.)

2. Canadians believe in equality for women. And that raises the issue of deporting all Roman Catholics since women are not equal to men in the Catholic church. (Actually, that's another one we should hold off on. Our expressed passion for women's equality is a very recent one and is still far from complete. Who knows? We might change our minds.)

3. Canadians value hockey.  (That should take care of the Arab problem.)

4. Quebeckers should have a share in protecting their values. We might, for example, consider banning people who don't favour Quebec separation.

5. Non-beer drinkers should be banned. Drinking beer is probably the most widely shared value in Canada. And it's important to the New Brunswick economy.

6. We should make a list of those peoples we have banned in the past, including the recent past or have accepted as cheap labour, but only if they stayed out of sight. That would include, among others, Jews, Italians, Ukrainians, Chinese, Japanese, people of India, Africans.... The list is actually quite a long one. That's because it has to include values we have and values we THINK we  have.

And there's another problem.

People who demand that immigrants have our set of values are ignoring the reality that nobody on earth shares all our values. All societies have their own values. Even the French and British came here with their own values which have been mixing and evolving in Canada for centuries.

People who talk about values haven't the faintest idea what they're talking about. Worse. They are ignorant of a fundamental reason for demanding  'our' values from immigrants. The idea that one can categorize groups on the basis of their biological origins was a prime theme for the Hitlers of this  world (who have, at various times, been British, French, Spanish, American, Canadian.....). It's called racism.

And, as a value, racism has a long history in Canada.

Into my own childhood and beyond in Montreal, Irish immigrants were detested. They came here in appalling  hunger, and died by the thousands in their Atlantic crossings and their arrival. In Montreal, most Irish had to live in ghettos that were slums.

After all, they didn't share our values.

Yes, it is most unfortunate that North Korea has nuclear weapons. But a war with North Korea? Quite apart from a massive killing of civilians, it could create a war - the final one - with China. An American victory would put American rockets and American soldiers on the border of China - something it was already done in Russia. In fact, that may well be the real reason for Tillerson's statement.
Is North Korea a threat to the U.S.? Not yet. It could be someday. But it will never be a threat to equal the massive nuclear power of the U.S. The U.S. is far the biggest threat to the world.

And in nearly eighty years, the U.S. has never made the slightest attempt to reduce or eliminate nuclear stockpiles.

So who is it that's causing a crisis here?
We accept British immigrants because they 'share our values'. I suppose they do. So here's a look at British values which, I''m quite sure, are duplicated here in Canada.
Canada and the U.S., like most countries, have made virtually no preparation for climate change. So here's something we'll see more of.
Of course, pumping oil and building pipelines creates jobs.
Some day, Canadians will realize that Prime Minister Trudeau's only talent is picking out which suit he will wear.
Israel, as always, is digging itself a hole.
Here's an excellent guide to several good news sources. One may seem an odd choice. It's Russia Times. However, I've often read it; and I've found it to be a very intelligent source of news - far superior to any of North America's mainstream, commercial news media.
The U.S. health system has always been a stinker because it's not designed for patients. It's designed for profit. Wealthy Canadians want Canada to move in the same direction. And it's notable that Brunswick News has always been favourable to parts of that move that have already happened.

But there's a price to pay for feeding the ever-hungry wealthy.
The wealthy also just love the pesticides industry. And the Brunswick New is always discreet about it.
Isn't it just terrible that some Muslim women wear a headscarf (the hijab)? I find it very upsetting. Why can't they dress like Christians with low necklines, miniskirts, bare midriffs, and tight pants? Christian women also appear quite respectably at beaches, wearing, well, you can find them at any respectable resort wearing bathing suit bottoms made up of a single string. Very healthy for tanning. I mean, really, this is a free country. So we should all look the same.
Mind you, I'm not completely satisfied with our dress regulations. I really think there should be a law forcing Christian men to wear baseball caps with the peaks in front.
We are in an extremely damgerous situation. For the most part, Canadians and Americans have no idea what's going on in the world.  And we therefore have no idea of how to deal with it. The U.S. just had an election with only two parties, both owned by billionaires, to vote for. Result - more people refused to vote than did vote for either candidate. The refusers had no concept, even, of what they would have voted for. They have been left in hopeless ignorance by their news media and the myths of their history and their roles in the world.

(In my local paper for today, the Canada and World section had just two stories from the rest of the world. One was a about the U.S. - and not important - and the other about Syria. That was it for the world.)

We have no sense of the immense suffering and horror we are imposing on the world. And what for? To beat off an invasion of Canada by Yemen?

The most horrifying story is the one I began with  (the one that didn't make our local paper). An American attack on North Korea would not only cause dreadful suffering in North Korea, it also be virtually certain to create a Chinese response - and perhaps a nuclear one.)

If the U.S. thinks it's evil to have nuclear weapons,  why has it made no attempt whatever to reduce them in the last eighty years? And if North Korea is building its nuclear force to hold off the U.S., what should we expect it to do after the unprecedented American bombing and killing of the Korean War?

And if North Korea was wrong to invade South Korea, how can we describe the horror inflicted by the U.S. on Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Guatemala by the U.S.?

We Canadians are watching one of the greediest and most brutal nations in history, and one that is led by very stupid people in both politics and big business. Any Canadian government that does not separate this country from what the U.S. has become is a collection of damfools.
Trump, who was the man of the people and the saviour of workers in the election, has become just another old-fashioned servant of the very rich. This is very, very dangerous for all of us. The American public is rapidly becoming disillusioned with him. But it has no alternative party to turn to - and no sense, even, of what its options are. This is the stuff of a monstrous, natonal collapse.
The next item deals with Canada's likely role in U.S. policies. I think Canada's situation is much more dangerous that this. And I'm quite sure that Trudeau is not to be trusted in dealing with Trump.
The most popular politician in the U.S. is not Trump or Clinton. The most popular politician is Bernie Sanders, a Democrat that his own party won't touch. No. He's a threat to the very rich - a very modest threat since he simply believes in a humane government. But that makes him a dangerous man to the very rich  - even unAmerican.
There is no limit to greed. And, at root, the greed of the wealthy is what is destroying the U.S.(and, quite possibly, Canada.)  Capitalism is destroying our society. Almost any study of history shows that.
Here's an item on the price of the ignorance our private news media impose on us. It's also a revelation of the cruelty and murder the greedy impose on us.
What the hell have we become?
Canada is a big player on the world stage for ownership of mining and extractive industries in general. It's also a big player for cruelty and abuse in those industries. And that just one more of the things that Trudeau hasn't moved on.
Incidentally, don't expect ever to find a story in  this in the Brunswick News.
I  don''t believe I have ever had such a depressing day of reading the news. And the problem isn't Trump. It goes way beyond to those people who are greedily robbing the U.S. and Canada and other countries. And we are now extremely close to the final, stupid move.

Why is the U.S. suddenly so eager to attack North Korea? It's a move almost certainly to go wrong with heavy loss of life in both Koreas. And there is a very strong possibility it would provoke a war with China which would have to be nuclear.

And all this risk to attack a country that is nowhere close to having the capacity to attack the west?

No. That's not what it's about. It's about the U.S. boxing in China as it has boxed in Russia with Ukraine. This is much like the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s. Remember how the U.S. reacted to that? Can you seriously believe China and Russia would react differently?

Economically, the U.S. is fascist plus state. The plus is because American fascism goes beyond the Italian brand to put all power into the hands of big business. Big business decides where the wars will be - and why.

It is also increasingly Orwellian, even more than Hitler was.

And I live in Canada, next door,where big business and government are as cozy as they are in the U.S., and which has a rubber mouse for prime minister.
I'm nowhere near getting through all the material I have. But, for now, enough.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15: Too much news.

A big story has so far been missed by Brunswick News which which effectvely has a monopoly on print news in this province. It's a response to a complaint against CBC  (Canada's radio and TV news service which is owned by the Canadian people)  filed by the owner of Brunswick News. Funny how the eagle-eyed editors at Brunswick News missed this.

And what will be the reaction to this? Well, one possibility is that there will be pressure on the federal government to cut the CBC budget.
Meanwhile, the big news is that a roofer is going to jail for cheating clients. Above it is a big picture of the law courts building. Two pages later are two more stories of small-time crime. They, too,  have a picture of the law courts for readers who have forgotten what they look like. (That picture of the law courts must have appeared thousands of time over the years. And why not? It's cheap; and it fills space.

The big news is in the second section, Canada &World. Here we learn that a woman in a neighbouring city charged a man with taking photos of her in the washroom. And, to  clarify the story, it has a big photo of the courthouse in that city.

On the next page, a cab driver  in a nearby city who had been charged  (and acquitted) of sexual assault has lost his taxi license.

For more news of the greater world, a university in Ontario has removed the  weighing scales in its gymn.  (No. I'm not kidding. That is the news WE need to know.)

There are only four stories from the rest of the world - none of them of any importance. And there are none of those yukky stories about war or starvation or refugees. Millions of children are dying of starvation? That's too yukky poo for Brunswick News.

This is newspaper chain designed to keep people ignorant of what's happening around the world - and even around the corner.
This story is an example of what was not considered important enough for the Brunswick News.

In fairness, I'm a little uneasy about it. As UN reports commonly do, this one takes pains to assure us that Americans don't do these terrible things. In fact, the U.S. has been one of the pioneers in bombing civilians and civilian institutions like hospitals. Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed everything. The carpet bombing of Laos and Cambodia was the heaviest bombing in history - and almost all the casualties were civilian. Bombing in North Korea stopped only when every building had been destroyed. And, yes, of course that included schools and hospitals.

Chemical wepons were widely used by the U.S. in Vietnam.  Depleted uranium shells were used in Iraq. The U.S. has been using cluster bombs for decades - and cluster bombs are not precision instruments - and they lie in wait for uncounted years. It is also blockading Yemen to keep out food and medical supplies.
Every major power has used terror weapons aimed at civilian populations for eighty years and more. There are no good guys. And The Guardian must know that.
I can well remember Sundays in Hong Kong. Every park would be filled in hundreds, even thousands, of women. They were like clouds of colourful birds in mass migration who  had settled all over the city to rest.

There were, and are, many domestic servants in Hong Kong. They are very low paid; and they work very long hours for six days a week. Sunday is their only day off. Many are there to earn money they can send home - often to places like The Phillipines where poverty is common. And, sometimes, a cut of their money has to go to a dictator for allowing them to go to Hong Kong.

Is this an evil inflicted on those women by evil orientals?

Well, no. The practice of exploiting these women was begun by Christian gentlemen from Britain, Germany, Portugal, the U.S.....and reaching back into the nineteenth century. Most of them had utter contempt for anyone who was not Christian and white like them. They still do.
I send this next one on mostly because I can't imagine an opinion column like this ever being permitted in Brunswick News. (In fact, I  find it hard to picture it in any North American newspaper.)
Brunswick Press missed this story, too, though it sounds like an excellent model for New Brunswick.
I include this next one to encourage a sense of reality about war, and American power at war.

Just consider - for all images of TV and movies and  over-excited news sources, the U.S. has NEVER fought (and so never won) a war against a country of it's own size and wealth. For the size of its military, the only war it has won in the last seventy years was against a small, Carribean island - Grenada.

Only a minority of its soldiers today are Americans. Instead, it is an extremely expensive army of hired killers, mercenaries from all over the world. They are not likely to perform well in a major war.

And Trump is going to boost the navy's carrier fleet? Cute. But nobody can be sure how a weapon will perform in any war. In World War 1, Britain and the U.S. based their naval power on the battleship. Later, they added a variant called the Battle Cruiser.

They kept building them throughout World War Two. In fact, the last British battleship was completed in 1945. But both Britain and the U.S. had missed a nasty reality that they should have seen even before the war.The battleship was a floating antique. And the battle cruiser was close to useless.

The carrier was decisive in World War Two. It can still be decisive in a small war. But in a major war? Who knows? I rather doubt that it will be.
Amazing how much Trump policies look like those of Obama and Bush.
The Fraser Institute, a propaganda house for the very wealthy which pretends to be a gathering of deep thinkers, is a great favourite of Brunswick News. It, along with other such "think tanks", frequently appears on the commentary page. And, like The Atlantic Institute of Market Studies and the CDHowe institute are treated with similar respect and obeisance.

I've known a number of people who do 'research' for these outfits. Some are opportunists kissing up to the rich. Some are quite sincere. Rather like evangelicals, they believe that their Their god is the only true god. They believe.  And because they believe, they don't have to  understand anything at all.

Okay. Maybe we shouldn't expect a reporter to know all that. But an editor must.
I thought all of the following worth reading. The U.S. is acting as if it were something it clearly is not. It is not the dominant power in the world. And there is no possibility it can be such a power. Contrary to what movies tell us, the U.S. has not performed brilliantly in war, not even against small countries. And the effort to be what it is not and cannot be creates an uncontrolable and, probably, brief future for all of us.

The excuse, of course, is that other countries are the aggressors - powerful and murderous countries like Grenada and Syria Afghanistan and Libya. The U.S. is following a course made necessary by the greed of a very few. And it is an insanity.

Re the following item, watch Justin Trudeau closely. He'll be quietly scrambling to find a way to please the U.S. by refusing to accept refugees fleeing the U.S. And, I regret to say, we will see plenty of Canadians on the racist side.
The U.S. has long since gone all the way to being a police state. The only questions left for Canadians is 1. How far has our intelligence service gone with spying on Canadians? 2. How much is the Canadian intelligence service in bed with U.S. intelligence and the CIA?
Another story missed by Brunswick News.  There was a time when almost all North Americann News Media were anti-Jewish. Now, it's reversed so if your want the whole story about Israel, you have to go to an Israeli paper, Haaretz.
Canada can fall in line behind Trump. Or it can follow a much more independent path. There is no in between. You can count on Trudeau to fall in line behind Trump. That's the way big business in Canada wants it.

Unlike those who try to get off a sinking ship, Canadians have a long history of lining up to get on. And the U.S. is very much a sinking ship.

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13: American soldiers? What American soldiers?

Today, my local paper, a part of the Brunswick News chain, has four pages  (count them, four) of Canada and World news. A page one flash is that the tiny province of Prince Edward Island is sometimes left off of maps. Next to it is another big story that New York city might get a snow storm. Then there's a big story about a local company that repairs old sewing machines. And a big, international story that a father and son are racing each other in a dog sled race in Alaska.

In fact,  the whole paper has no news at all. This is a newspaper whose sole purpose is to keep us ignorant of what is going on in the world. And that's pretty much the rule in our commercial news media.

But what's going on in this world is a massive change that has affected all of us - and will affect us a great deal more. Part of that change is reflected in the stories below.

Remember the pictures of American troops marching home after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan? Remember the movies in which they are all heroes? Remember the proud boasts that the US has a highly patriotic population and the best army in the world?
None of that has been true for twenty years. American men are not at all eager to 'serve their country'. Nor is the American public willing to accept the death toll of eternal wars. That's been true since Vietnam. That whole linking of war with 'serving the country' has been a fraud. Most of the reports we get about "American' troops are fraudulent.

The greater part of the American army is made up of hired thugs from all over the world. And thugs is the right word because they ignore international law; they routinely murder, rob and rape on a grand scale. Charges for that are rare - and convictions almost unheard of.

These happy murderers, thieves and rapists were (and are) the bulk of the American army in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria. These mercenaries (who also work out of Canada) are far, far more brutal and murderous than all the Muslim terrorists we have ever heard of.

Murderers, rapists, and thieves - these are what America now means to most of the world.

God bless America. (I wonder if the mercenaries have chaplains. I bet they do.)

We live under governments that are really agents for big business. That's why we can be sure that as change happens big business will not be harmed. Instead, we will. When American business screwed up a few years ago, the American  government decision was that it would have to bail out big business to the tune of a trillion dollars. And that bill was passed on to the American people and their children and their grandchildren......

Ordinary people can and do die of hunger and exposure for their economic failures. But, under the propaganda influence of our news media, God forbid that a billionaire should have to pay for his own mistakes.

We are very, very close to a period in which we will desperately need governments that government for us. But we are nowhere close to having such governments. The Liberals and Conservatives are a dead loss in that respect. (Trudeau is actually supporting a trade deal with Europe which puts the greed of big business way ahead of the needs of average Canadians. And our commercial media are playing their usual game of telling us nothing about it.)

Canada needs to make radical changes. The Greens, though their intentions are good, seem to think this can be done without thinking much about politics of how it will be done.  And the NDP desperately needs to become again the party it used to be. ( Yes, it's possible to win an election by talking like Liberals. But rather more is required for dealing with our situation. Here in New Brunswick, the NDP actually had a leader whose thinking was so far back in the nineteenth century that he quit the NDP to become a Conservative. What was the NDP thinking of in choosing such a leader in the first place?)
I'm not at all convinced that God blesses America. The war in Syria was not begun by rebels or by the Syrian government. It was created by American oil billionaires to boost their profits. Even at that, the war isn't economically profit making because the cost of it is so  high. But, of course, the oil billionaires don't have to pay that cost.

Funny how Brunswick news missed this item.
And guess who is a major player in these crises. And guess why that "who" thinks it necessary to create the misery in this photo.  And guess who is making money out of this.

This might have made a good sermonette for the Faith Page of the Brunswick News. I guess that's why it never appeared there.
I found the language of this item a little overdone. But the fundamental message is important. For all the excitement about Trump, I don't think he's the problem. The problem is that the American systems of government and economy have collapsed. Trump is a symbol of that collapse, but not the cause of it. It's been developing for a long time - and Hillary Clinton as president would be at least as big a disaster.

The American systems have collapsed in the face of greed and a complete failure of social responsibility. And, soaked in nationalism and unthinking patriotism, Americans have little sense that things can be done differently.

In Canada, expect the Liberals and Conservatives to take Canada on the same ride  (as they already have). And hope for the Greens and the NDP to realize how much has to be done - and how little time we have to do it.
Despite his reputation, Obama was no peace lover. He used drone bombers far, far more often than Bush did. No western news medium has ever shown any interest in how many innocent people got killed. Now, trump is on track to set a new, world record in the use of drones.
Washington doesn't need to censor the news. For the most part, the commercial media will publish only what Washington tells them to publish. For this story, largely ignored by the commercial news media, only propaganda has appeared.
Washington is quoted as saying that the U.S. Troops in Syria are there only to help with the firing of  howitzers. So they're not engaged in an act of war.

1. To send troops into any country, even if they're there to hand out candy to children, is an act of war.
2. To "help" by firing howizers at the other side Isn't an act of war? So the US wouldn't mind if China showed up in southern California to bombard the Mexican fence?

An act of war is also illegal under international war unless you are threatened by violence from the other country. When did Syria threaten the U.S.?

Britain, in its imperial days, was exactly like the U.S. is today. Acting in response to the greed of the British wealthy, Britain freely invaded countries all over the world, murdered huge numbers, and looted labour and resources. And, like the U.S. today, its leaders came up with Christian reasons for their murder and theft. American leaders have been doing the same for centuries. Here's a sample.

"We are the ruling race of the world. . . . We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world. . . . He has marked us as his chosen people. . . . He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples." : Sen. Alfred Beveridge

Yep. It 's all part of doing God's will. God bless our business leaders, all men of Godly spirit.  I have read many such quotations from those politicians who serve big business. And I expect they might have been said by Hitler, as well.
Asia is commonly absent from our news sources. That's a big mistake. It is quite likely that, within 20 years, Asia will be the world's dominant region.  (That may explain Trump's sudden round of increases in military spending. It is quite possible that American business leaders want a war with China - NOW - before China gets too strong.)

I suspect it's already much, much too late to stop China. Despite its size and the massive spending on it, the performance of the American military has never been impressive. Its victories have all been in wars against countries that were smaller and poor - usually both smaller and poorer. And, since 1945, it's record has been a dismal one even at that for a country of such size and wealth. And, always a danger signal, it cannot get its own people to support its wars.

Yes, it could obliterate most of Asia with a nuclear attack. Unfortunately, that would also obliterate the rest of the world.
The next item is about greed in the U.S. But that same greed, on the part of people who are much the same as the American greedy, is simmering in Canada and Britain, among others.

Trump intends to destroy even the very limited health care plan the U.S. has. His intention is to privatize health care so it can been used, like everything else, to make the rich richer. We've seen movement in that dirction here in New Brunswick. Trump is also looking to encourage privatization of education - and for the same reason. The implication is that government exists to enrich the already wealthy - and then the blessing will come down on us. This is capitalism as understood by self-centred idiots.
I include the next one primarily because it's such a well-written analysis of a political leadership debate. There are not many journalists who can write such an honest analysis and do it in such simple language. But Karl Nerenberg is a pro among pros.

My own view is that what the speakers said made sense in terms of getting votes. But they fell way short in dealing the changes that are needed - and very very soon.
And here's one that involves the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Here, in New Brunswick, we have a big story that has received scant attention from our press.

A string of salt-water beaches, important to the tourist trade have dangerously  high levels of 'fecal wastes', the nice way of saying pollution from toilets. In fact, by federal standards, the pollution is so high that the beaches should long ago have been closed.

The provincial, Liberal, government did nothing, said nothing. In fact, neither did the Conservativves when they were in power.   In fact, it probably goes back further than either of those governments - but nobody said a word. And the current government has given no hint that it is ever going to say anything - or do anything.

These are very popular beaches for the tourist trade - for trailer parks, campgrounds, local stores and restaurants.... But it's so bad that it's dangerous to go in the water - and even dangerous to walk on the sand. And the governments have known about it for a long time. That means the inspectors knew about it. And that makes it a strong possibility that the campground and trailer park owners knew about it.

However, we can only guess about the latter part because the Brunswick News has never gone beyond giving a couple of quick items about it. And that was two months ago. Since then, Brunswick News has shown no interest. Nor has their been much public interest, either.

That's quite an example of a cover-up press combined with a remarkably passive population. It's also quite an example of irresponsibility in dealing with an issue of human life.
The final item is one sent to me by a reader. Alas! It came with no source. However, I know that its point is quite true. It's also nice to see the word 'fascism' used in one of its correct senses.
A common cliché of protectionism is this one: the United States government needs to negotiate better deals for American companies.

It is time to call a spade a spade. This is fascism. Fascism is the economics of a government-business alliance. There should be no government-business alliance. The government should not be involved in business. Whenever government gets involved in business, it is always done to favor certain businesses at the expense of all the rest of them. It always involves a repression of decision-making on the part of individual buyers and sellers. There are no exceptions. There are always going to be a few winners and a lot of losers. But we do not see the losers. This is what Frederic Bastiat in 1850 called "the fallacy of the things not seen."

If I say this to the standard conservative, he nods his head in agreement. He is convinced that the government is up to no good when it intervenes into the free market. Then, a few minutes later, he tells me that the government should actively negotiate better trade deals for American businesses. In other words, his default setting on trade is fascism. He does not understand this. He does not understand economic logic, and he does not understand the meaning of the so-called business-government alliance.


This brings me to the idea that governments should negotiate tariffs and other quotas with foreign nations.

Why should any government agency negotiate in favor of any American business? What is the economic logic of this? This is one more example of government interference into the operations of the free market. Yet Americans who claim that they do not want government intervention in the marketplace loudly insist that some American trade negotiator has an obligation to get a better deal for America.

For America? For a collective? For all of America? How? The government cannot achieve this in any other field of economics. It is always discriminatory. There are always winners and losers. How is it possible for trade negotiators to get a better deal for all Americans? They can't. It's a myth....